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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Meet Liza Frulla, Mayoress-in-the-Making

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Liza Frulla when she was vice-president of the radio station CKAC in 1988. Source:

The rumor has been circulating for a while among the city’s politicos, and since there’s been no denial on her part, we can only assume it’s at least half true: Liza Frulla (the Honourable!) is seriously considering running for Mayor in 2013. And there’s no question that if she did, she would be hard to beat (given her notoriety and TV presence), so we (Montrealers of all colours and stripes) better take notice now.

To be perfectly honest, I am always get annoyed when some former or actual federal or provincial politician floats the idea of becoming Mayor of Montreal. It gives one the distinct impression that these people (Gérald Tremblay, Claude Trudel, Claude Dauphin, Louise Harel, Denis Coderre, Liza Frulla, etc.) see municipal politics – and Montreal municipal politics in particular – as some sort of retirement plan. It also makes one wonder: why doesn’t Montreal send its politicians to the provincial and federal government instead (like Mike Harcourt and Gordon Campbell in Vancouver, Jack Layton in Toronto, Glenn Murray in Winnipeg, etc.)?

Whatever the case may be, we are stuck with politicians who have conflicting loyalties (because they need the PQ or the Liberals’ political machines to get elected). Just think of Mayor Tremblay’s diffidence whenever the Government of Quebec imposes the City a 1950s-style highway project or closes down a bridge without telling anyone at the City or decides to unilaterally change the site of the new CHUM even after all the studies have been completed and everyone in Montreal agrees. He whined and whined but never put his foot down.

All that said, I have to admit: Liza Frulla’s record as Ministre de la culture et de la condition féminine is (apparently) flawless (she created, among other things, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec while in office) and she is currently President of the Fondation du Musée d’art contemporain and a member of Montreal’s Conseil des arts, which means she is still in contact with the city’s arts community.  Also, judging by  her recent declarations in the Quel Avenir blog on Cyberpresse, she seems to be “aware” of Montreal’s specificity and of the need to defend Montreal’s interests more aggressively (given that neither the Liberals nor the PQ take much interest in Quebec’s metropolis, even now). Or maybe she is simply setting the stage for her own crowning. Regardless, her declarations about Montreal’s need to go from sheep to lion (“de mouton à lion”) are quite bold considering that she, too, is very close to the Liberals, Premier Charest and Mayor Tremblay, all of whom she criticizes directly or indirectly.

Is Frulla simply testing the “media waters”? Or is she already the officious successor to Mayor Tremblay within Tremblay’s party, Union Montréal? Considering that her partner, André Morrow, owns a PR and communications firm, her every move from now until she decides to make the jump (or not) will no doubt be calculated. So pay attention… she might be soon be our Mayoress.




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